Community members work on a spring planting project at a community garden in the University Avenue Corridor in Flint.

Gardening with a whole community could reduce violent crimes in neighborhoods, study says

GREEN AGAINST CRIME: Community engagement in maintaining and mowing vacant city lots can contribute to lower violent crime rates,says a new study by researchers from U of M, the CDC and other institutions. Such community involvement is underway in Flint through the city’s Clean and Green program. We talk to researchers and the Genesee County Land Bank Authority. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Cover of “Half Wild: People, Dogs and Environmental Policy.”

New book connects the environment with a love of dogs

HALF WILD: Longtime environmental policy expert Dave Dempsey of Traverse City and now a senior advisor at FLOW (For Love of Waters) talks about his new book, “Half Wild: People, Dogs and Environmental Policy.” It’s an overview of his career, wins and mistakes interspersed with stories about dogs he’s owned. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU AND ALL POINTS.

Pit bull at a mobile clinic in Detroit.

Vet care needed for pets of homeless owners

PETS OF HOMELESS: Homeless pet owners need vet care and food for their animals, and some nonprofits are stepping in with assistance. We hear from the Humane Society of Huron Valley and Shelter Association of Washtenaw County and see a Street Dog Coalition free clinic in Detroit. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

Crunchy leaves

COMMENTARY TRAILS 

COMMENTARY TRAILS: Trails beckon us outdoors, even in cities, and can be surprisingly alive with wildlife, including Canada geese, turtles, red-winged blackbirds and even transplanted shrews. An East Lansing walker’s trail tale. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

National Park Foundation boosts North Country Trail hikers

NATIONAL PARK GRANTS: The National Park Foundation has just awarded $1.7 million to grassroots groups that promote and serve national parks, including the North Country Trail Association headquartered in Lowell. The Michigan portion crosses southern-central and western parts of the state and spans most of the U.P. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR CADILLAC, HILLSDALE, WKTV, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, BIG RAPIDS, CRAWFORD COUNTY, CHEBOYGAN, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, LUDINGTON, TRAVERSE CITY, SAULT STE. MARIE, St. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, IRON MOUNTAIN and ALL POINTS.

Michiganders with rare diseases could receive more state support

RARE DISEASE COUNCIL: A group of parents and health providers are urging the state to establish a special board on rare diseases. About a million Michiganders may have a rare disease, one that afflicts fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. There are more than 7,000 such diseases, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. We talk to a Lincoln Park lawmaker and two Detroit area moms of children with rare conditions. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR DETROIT and ALL POINTS.

Michigan pet owners mistreating their animals may have to pay shelter costs

ANIMAL ABUSE: People charged with abusing animals may have to pay for their care while they await trial. Shelter operators support the legislation but one lawmaker says it would criminalize poverty. We talk to the Huron Valley Humane Society, an Ann Arbor lawmaker and the Michigan Humane, formerly Michigan Humane Society. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya FOR DETROIT, FOWLERVILLE and ALL POINTS